THE Foxlydiate Arms in Redditch and its Premier Inn hotel are to be demolished – with owners Whitbread saying the site has been earmarked for housing by Bromsgrove District Council.
The company said the hotel ‘does not reflect the brand standards our guests expect from Premier Inn’ while the restaurant at the popular pub ‘needs considerable investment before it will be profitable’.
Staff heard earlier this week and the news has caused dismay across the community.
“This is a massive blow,” said County Councillor Robin Lunn (Lab, Redditch North).
“To remove the main meeting and place to socialise at a time when Webheath needs more infrastructure not less, is a betrayal of the local population.
“What is so galling is the fact that the Foxlydiate is to be closed without it being offered to another company to run in its current form.
“This is not a struggling business but one which is regularly used for parties, weddings and where many people eat.
“I call on Whitbread to sell this on the open market to another pub or restaurant chain.
“Webheath does not need more houses, it needs infrastructure and places to socialise for the houses already there.”
He added if the firm was not prepared to consider the local area, the community should be given a chance to register the Foxlydiate as a ‘Community Asset’.
This would enable local people to have the right to bid for and purchase it before the site went onto the open market.
“This would certainly prevent the land from being turned into a new building site, and should also preserve employment,” said Coun Lunn.
Richard Pearson, senior development manager at Whitbread, said: “The hotel does not reflect the brand standards our guests expect from Premier Inn and the Foxlydiate Arms restaurant needs considerable investment before it will be profitable.
“We are investing in an extension to the new Premier Inn hotel at Redditch North and have planning permission to expand the hotel by 21 bedrooms to more than 100 bedrooms.
“The team members at the Redditch West Premier Inn and Foxlydiate Arms Brewers Fayre were personally informed of this decision, and we will do our best to transfer roles to others in our network.
“As the site has been allocated for new homes by Bromsgrove District Council, we are looking at options to redevelop it.”
A council spokesperson said: “No planning application has been submitted for housing development on the site of the current Foxlydiate Inn.”